PHOTO: (l-r) Savannah Guerry, Marsha Guerry, Hayden Gill, Amy Gill, and Wyatt Marois, in front. photo credit: Brian GIll
RED BANK, NJ – When Hayden Gill and Wyatt Marois wanted to do something to show how much they appreciate nurses, they involved their entire families and then some.
Hayden, 10, a 5th grade student at the Navesink School, told her dad she wanted to make signs to say thanks to doctors, nurses and staff workers at a hospital. She and her next door neighbor and friend, Wyatt Marois, a first grader at the Navesink School, have been quarantine buddies since the season started, playing together on their back yard trampoline and helping to tend Hayden’s goats, Jelly and Sassy Sam at their homes in Locust.
A quick consult with dad Brian Gill and the kids had their plan underway. They gathered plywood, brushes, paint, and set themselves up an area in the house to paint thank-you signs in bright, colorful, large letter, knowing they had to keep their distance but wanted their message to be clear.
Meanwhile, Gill called his brother Tim, whose daughter Rachel Guerry-Tirrell works at Riverview to find out what would be the proper time and place for them to be. Rachel, who works with Covid patients at the hospital, gave him the change of shift time as well as the exit the staff uses, reminded them to keep their distance, and thanked them all for their thoughtfulness.
Saturday evening, Rachel arrived for her night shift and was the first to be greeted by Hayden and Wyatt and the entourage they had brought: Hayden’s parents, Brian and Amy, Wyatt’s mom, Marsha, Rachel’s mom and sister, Savannah and Marsha Guerry of Point Pleasant, and friends Jim Reul and Natilya Kharakhy of Point Pleasant.
Arriving early, they were there in time to see Rachel report to work and handed her a shopping bag full of snacks for herself and the medical crew coming on for the night shift. Rachel willingly posed for photos for the kids and thanked them for their thoughtfulness.
As cars carrying workers came in another entrance, Wyatt and Hayden rushed to the driveway to show their signs and thank the oncoming staff, who received the messages with smiles, horn honks and thumbs up.
A few minutes before 7 they were back to the exit door and, standing a distance, shouted their thanks and appreciation while displaying their signs. Nurses, technicians and other staff workers were visibly surprised by the display and responded with tears and shouted thanks, many stopping to take photos of the group that was there to thank them. One of the employees, a monitor technician, was brought to tears by the show of thanks and took a photo of the group saying, “I just want everyone to see what a nice thing you’re doing.”
After the approximate hour, the youngsters and their relatives greeted and shouted appreciation to both incoming and outgoing staff, both Hayden and Wyatt said they were glad they did it. Seeing the surprise of so many workers made them think thanks had never been displayed this way before, so they are planning another trip to show their thanks again.
PHOTO: Rachel Guerry-Tirrell works at Riverview
“They’re in there working and their families aren’t able to be here,” Hayden said, “so we just wanted to do something nice. I talked to my Dad and he made it all happen. We just hope we were able to give them some inspiration.” Hayden said she misses her friends and classmates at Navesink Elementary School, especially since this her last year at the elementary school and will be going to Bayshore Middle School in September. She also misses her primary hobby, swimming, but “I just hope everybody gets through all of this.” Hayden said “before we did this, I knew it would probably make them smile. But I just didn’t think there would be such big smiles and such happiness!”
Wyatt said he was happy to be at the hospital to see how happy staff seemed to be to see them and “I just wanted to make them happy. They work hard and are doing a lot of good for a lot of people.”
Amy Gill, herself a 7th and 8th grade special-ed teacher in Hazlet, said doing something like this for others helped give Wyatt and Hayden “a sense of hope and a sense of normalcy.”
Guerry-Tirrell, the family member and nurse who helped Gill coordinate the effort, is a special heroine to the family for all she is doing. Besides her 12 to 14 hour days several days a week at Riverview, the nurse then goes to the Front Hospital, recently established in Edison where she works days. To ensure safety, she and her husband decided to separate themselves from their two daughters, three year old Scarlett and six year old Indie, who are staying with their grandmother, Marcia Guerry. They only see them on Skype or talk to them on the phone.